The closest I’ve ever come to being a sports fan was during my childhood when I used to watch WWF and WCW pro-wrestling, religiously. I watched it for an inordinate number of years, raving and screaming at Sting, and Hulk Hogan, but I’ve never been a fan of any sport, nor do I really understand the specifics that are required to know when watching baseball or football. But “Fanatical” is not a film you have to be a sports fan to watch, “Fanatical” is a film that asks you to watch these fanatics, these people whom devote themselves to something, and have such unending passion for that they just can’t explain.
“Fanatical” is assuredly in the tradition of such popular fanatic examinations like “Trekkies” and “Ringers” in which it profiles a number of people, and a fan base, and examines and observes their obsession, their passion, and the sheer lunacy of their mania that occasionally dips in to the frightening. I understand sports fanaticism though, speaking as one who comes from a family of sports fanatics, the people who become crushed at their team’s defeat, gleam at the team wins, and discuss trades like it’s the fate of the world, so I was able connect to “Fanatical” on a somewhat personal level.
“Fanatical” doesn’t spoof these people, nor does it make fun of them, it merely depicts them as individuals, and respectable individuals whom have an obsession—but that’s not to say Brian Unger’s narration isn’t a hoot to listen to (“What would these people be without Sunday? And the six days leading up to Sunday?”). But “Fanatical” examines everything from the mascots like the Title Town Green Bay Clown, The Arrow Man, Cowboy Bob et al, from their sacred rituals, team rivalries, clothing, collecting, and the love and care that they put in to their costumes. But in the end, these are people showing their love for what they enjoy, and I think anyone who is a comic fan, movie fan, Star Wars fan, or, to a lesser extent, a Harry Potter fan, can really relate to this amusing, and insightful rah-rah documentary that brings a better understanding of what a fanatic is.